Books Read in May 2012

Somehow I did a lot more reading than usual this month. I'm not quite sure how this happened. I didn't spend any more time reading than usual. That I know of. It's not like I measure it.

SPIN Selling by Neil Rackham

This book was great. I understand why it was held in high regard by a company I interviewed with last fall and am glad I got to read it. It's always good to see business books based on research, research, research and see how that plays into the way the theories develop. Basically the theory is to use questions to first heighten the problem and develop its implications before getting into the more traditional selling task. Amusingly enough, this reminds me of what Sean D'Souza developed with his Brain Audit marketing training.

Tough Choices by Carly Fiorina

It was fascinating to listen to Carly's journey from prospective academic to CEO. The writing was great and I kept returning to the book at odd moments to read just a little more. After reading the book I had to check how the outside media viewed her tenure. It was very critical, which was intriguing to me because everything she said made sense in context.

Born to Run and Chrome Circle by Mercedes Lackey

Ah, Tannim. I loved reading about this modern mage when I was a teenager and enjoyed this pair of books again on the reread.

Wheels of Fire by Mercedes Lackey and Mark Shepard

But when I read this one again from the same universe as the other two I just wasn't as impressed as I used to be. I only kept it this time as it ties into Chrome Circle. I didn't end up reading the fourth book, When the Bough Breaks. I flipped through it and remembered that I just didn't care the first time around and kept it because at the time I didn't think much about getting rid of books.

Bit Literacy by Mark Hurst

Okay, I already do most of this stuff, but I know people who don't. This book is written at a very detail tactical level of how to handle all the different pieces of information pouring down at you, particularly email, news sources, and photos. And it does a great job.

Drinking from the Firehose by Christopher J. Frank and Paul Magnone

I was very much looking forward to getting to read this book. Somehow I expected this to be more like a broader version of Bit Literacy, and it wasn't, despite drawing inspiration from the same quote. Instead it was about how to solve business problems better in a situation where there was too much information to choose from. They presented 7 key questions to ask to be able to sort through it all. I guess it all made sense, but there was just something missing for me. The questions were awkward and I've seen similar ideas presented better elsewhere.

Jak Barley - Private Investigator - and the Case of the Seven Dwarves by Dan Ehl

This was disturbing. It's some sort of twisted fantasy world with modern anachronisms and a secondary character who appears to be from our own world. It's first person and the character is quirky but relatable. At times I kept reading because it was like watching a train wreck, but the underpinning mystery of who made Frost Ivory fall into a deep sleep was strong and intriguing to watch unfold. 

A School for Villains by Ardyth and Leo DeBruyn

This is a young adult book with a great twist shown in the title - a young boy gets accepted to go to school to become one of the evil overlords, but just wants to go home. The evil is more petty and stereotypical, but that's pretty much the point, because the real question is what is good and evil and how do you handle a situation in which you can't figure a way out. It's light hearted, despite the themes, and I'm curious if there will be more.

Volcano Watch by Toni Dwiggins

Something about this first person book was odd, but I'm not sure what it was, something in the voice of the main character was awkward and unsure and I'm not sure if it was the writer or character that made me feel that way. But the mystery and the drama of people interacting was fantastic. I wanted to just keep reading every time I put it down. The science of geology and volcanology was essential to the plot but secondary to the people and well interwoven.

Dracopedia by William O'Connor

As an art book this is beyond me, because it's more about developing a dragon sketch to a full-fledged painting via digital means. As a fantastical bestiary it was quite fun, especially since it was written with the sense that the dragons walk our current world. The mental space between the two was also interesting, although it was rarely spelled out. Because the point was to teach an artist to imagine the setting and background of a dragon in order to depict it well. 

The Product Manager's Desk Reference by Steven Haines

This was a reread for me, large as the book is. I wanted to look at it again with different eyes now that I'm in a sales and marketing role. I recognized more than I did last time and was able to spend some time thinking about how it might apply to the products I currently work with.

The Strange Case of Finley Jayne by Kady Cross

Amusing enough little steampunk romance. It seems to have been geared to young adults, which I had missed when I picked it up free on Kindle.

Other Roads by Amber Sistla

4 enjoyable fantasy stories with a little bit of a kick.

Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg

Natalie was refreshing in her multiple short pieces on how writing can be hard, but you have to keep writing, and how to use your own personal experiences. I really felt like I got into the head of a her style of writing.

The Story Factor by Annette Simmons and Doug Lipman

Fabulous book about using storytelling in persuasion and general business applications. I want to reread it and  review it.

Graphic Novels

I haven't read much in comics lately, but my husband is still reading, mostly in the bound graphic novel format. And I picked up a couple of them this month.

Batman Incorporated Volume 1

I really liked the idea of Batman officially reaching out, publicly funded by Bruce Wayne, of course. The storyline was, unfortunately, rather disjointed and confusing. The writers pulled in a number of interesting ideas and side characters, but it wasn't particularly impressive.

Justice League Volume 1: Origin

I rolled my eyes when DC rebooted everything, but I did want to know what happened. This six issue arc of the Justice League being formed again was fantastic. I loved that the heroes didn't know each other and Flash and Green Lantern thought Batman was a myth. Then there was Aquaman coming out of the ocean, wanting to know who was in charge, and finishing up with "I vote me." There were more wonderful personality moments and the storyline was good too.